The district administration of Lahore has given permission to the PML-N to hold a rally at the Minar-e-Pakistan on October 21, where party supremo Nawaz Sharif will address supporters upon his return to Pakistan after four years.
Nawaz, who has been in self-imposed exile since 2019, left for London in the middle of his seven-year jail term on medical grounds. In the four years that transpired, Nawaz was declared a proclaimed offender in the Al Azizia and Avenfield graft cases for his continuous absence from proceedings.
Last month, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif had confirmed that his elder brother was returning to the country on Oct 21. Subsequently, the PML-N had declared that Nawaz was ready to face “all kinds of circumstances” upon his return from London.
The elder Sharif is currently in Saudi Arabia and he will leave for Pakistan via Dubai on Oct 21 and address a rally at Minar-i-Pakistan. His legal team is likely to apply for his protective bail next week.
Ahead of Nawaz’s return, the PML-N is preparing for what it calls a “historic welcome” for the party supremo. Shehbaz has addressed several rallies in recent days and held meetings with traders, drumming up support for the Minar-e-Pakistan event.
The PML-N considers the Lahore power show on Nawaz’s homecoming as the most important event for the party.
In a letter addressed to PML-N spokesperson Bilal Yaseen, dated Oct 14, the deputy commissioner of Lahore said that the permission at the proposed site was issued after the submission of an undertaking by the organiser that in case of an untoward incident, they would take full responsibility.
“District administration and district police proposes to issue NOC (non-objection certificate) for holding of public gathering/jalsa at Minar-e-Pakistan Lahore,” it stated.
The letter, however, stated that the permission was granted on some conditions that included ensuring emergency exits and coordination with police.
“No speeches against constitutional offices/armed forces/judiciary shall
be uttered,” it said, adding that any show of fire and use of “objectionable slogans” would be prohibited.
“In view of overall security situation and threat alerts received from
different quarters, the organisers are once again cautioned and strongly advised to undertake all requisite precautionary measures in and around the venue for safety of participants and general public since this public gathering are being convened at their call,” the letter added.
Earlier, the Lahore deputy commissioner confirmed to Dawn that the PML-N had applied for the rally and the administration was in the process of granting an NOC.
Meanwhile, the district administration held a meeting of its district intelligence committee on Saturday and reviewed the law and order situation before granting the permission for the meeting.